East Riding's Young Farmers Clubs thriving again thanks to radio producer's chance encounter

It was a fake cow at an agricultural show that led to an East Yorkshire farmer’s son finding the route to the quite different career he craved outside of agriculture.

Jamie Wade of North Mount Farm near Bridlington hasn’t followed his father Ian and his sister Sammy into the farming and the equestrian worlds; instead he sought a career in radio where he has worked behind the scenes in promotion and sales support for several years.

He hasn’t left his agricultural roots behind. Jamie has just been announced as the new chairman of Bridlington YFC and vice chair of East Riding Federation of YFC.

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Jamie said the career opportunity he’d been seeking came about in bizarre fashion, thanks to his work with the Young Farmers movement.

Jamie Wade chairs thriving Bridlington Young Farmers Club

“I was studying radio production at Cheltenham and had emailed several radio stations in East and North Yorkshire about placements. I’d had no response at the time, but I was on the Rix stand at Driffield Show where East Riding Federation of YFC members were manning a wooden cow with a fake udder for children to have a go at pretend milking.

“Other members went for a break leaving just me there. I didn’t mind. Then Viking FM turned up and I was able to help them with some social media entertainment they were wanting to video using the cow and that was my way in.

“It was surreal. I’d been trying to contact them directly and it was through being involved with Young Farmers that I had my chance to meet someone face to face. I was offered a two-week placement and I’ve been there ever since.”

Jamie said that the Young Farmers movement has played an important part in his life for many years and that it has helped him in many ways.

He also works in radio sales and production for Viking FM

“I joined Bridlington YFC in 2006 and was chairman for the first time when I was 16. I wasn’t what you would call a tractor boy, but I do have an interest in the farm and farming as well as a great appreciation for it.

“The Young Farmers movement has done so much for me in a lot of ways, improving my confidence, discovering who I am and the skills I have. I’ve visited Norway, when I was selected to go over to spend time with the Nordic version of our movement.

“Stockjudging, public speaking, sports activities, talks by interesting people from all walks of life and tours of company premises from those involved in some way with agriculture, and some not, all broaden your experience.”

Jamie said that Bridlington YFC has stormed back since the pandemic restrictions were relaxed, which led to the club receiving the title of East Riding Federation’s Club of the Year 2022 a fortnight ago.

“We had been meeting via Zoom throughout the restrictions, which had kept a core of us going, but we were adamant that we were going to get back to meetings together again at our regular venue at Boynton Village Hall as soon as we could. We followed all the guidelines throughout and initially met outside and observed all of the social distancing regulations.

“Since October we have met every week and our club membership is now at a high of between 36-38. We have seen a really encouraging spike in junior membership and we now have a great spread of age groups in the club.

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“We had anticipated we might get a lot more younger ones because of almost two years without the opportunity to meet. Bridlington YFC is predominantly but not exclusively made up of farming based young people. There are quite a few that didn’t originally have farming backgrounds but that now work in the agricultural sector as a result of being involved with the club.

“Nobody knew whether members would take their time to ease back into coming to meetings and getting involved in club activities or whether they would all come back straight away, but that’s what’s happened and that seems to be the case throughout the East Riding.”

Looking after an influx of younger people at the starter age of 10 years old is something that all clubs seek to handle carefully and currently it means those between 10 to 12 are all effectively new members.

Jamie said the club committee meets to talk about making sure everyone feels a part of the club.

“The big appeal for everyone is socialising, being together. Last weekend we took part in the East Riding Spring Competitions Day and we are also planning for the county rally.

“We have started visits again and recently visited Sumo near York.”

Jamie said he’s looking forward to his other new role as vice chair of East Riding.

“It’s a really good team at East Riding. Pippa Norris of Bainton YFC is chair this year, and Jamie Maltas of Patrington YFC is the other vice chair. Amelia Preston of Beacon YFC is junior chair.

“Young Farmers is thriving once again.”